President Schill speech suspended by protesting students

UO President Schill’s State of the University speech was suspended after a group of protesting students swarmed the stage after it started. Hundreds of audience members left the EMU Ballroom after Kevin Marbury, interim vice president of student life, announced the suspension about five minutes into the protest speech. Marbury told the protesters they were being disrespectful and infringing on the University administrators’s right to speak.

About 45 protestors chanted and spoke about a variety of issues.

“Nothing about us without us,” and “Shame,” Protestors chanted. They called Schill a “CEO” and the university “a business firm.”

Charlie Landeros, a fourth-year planning public policy and management senior student, gave a speech, at times yelling into a megaphone on stage. He spoke about indigenous rights, minority student safety and oppression, and tuition increases.

“Our demands will be heard, we will be heard, we are the students, we will not be ignored,” Landeros said. “Expect resistance to anyone who opposes us.”

Interim Vice President of Student Life Dr. Kevin Marbury watches as University of Oregon students storm the stage before Michael Schill’s state of the university speech in the EMU Ballroom on Oct. 6, 2017. (Adam Eberhardt/Emerald)

Landeros also stated that fascism and neo-Nazis are the reason for the protest, and that students are no longer safe on campus.

The students violated the “amplified noise” policy, according to Marbury.

Faculty Senate Vice President Bill Harbaugh had not heard about the protesters until his walk to the speech today. He said the administrators should have tried to establish a dialogue instead of leaving.

“I think the administration should have let them say their peace and waited them out,” Harbaugh said. “Instead of promoting free speech, the administration hurt free speech.”

Not all UO administration left. Provost Jayanth Banavar stayed for the entirety of the protesters’ speeches. He declined to comment to The Emerald.

UO spokesman Tobin Klinger said that the administration knew about the protest, and had pre-recorded the speech, in a statement to The Emerald.

Klinger also said that Schill would’ve taken the stage after the protestors, but they wouldn’t relinquish the podium.

The State of the University speech was suspended, but was pre-recorded and posted on the President’s site moments after the room cleared.

You can watch Schill’s pre-recorded speech here.

This post will be updated.

Reporters Michael Tobin and Will Campbell also contributed reporting to this story.

Follow Erin Carey on Twitter: @erinlcarey

Do you appreciate independent student journalism? Emerald Media Group is a non-profit organization. Please consider a donation to support our mission.



Tell us what you think:

Erin Carey

Erin Carey

Erin Carey is a Senior Reporter, majoring in Journalism and minoring in Comparative Literature. She loves coffee, hockey and telling visitors at the Oregon Zoo random facts about the animals.